posted 01-11-2003 02:24 PM
i found some more accurate measurements on:
Blarney's tremendous rectangular great tower, one of the very biggest in Ireland. has an interesting building history. It was erected in two stages. First, in the early fifteenth century a small 6-metre (20ft) square turret rising to four stories and containing small rooms was built as part of some other building which has since been superseded. This original turret, not then machicolated, remained where it is when about 40 years later the castle owner, Cormac MacCarthaigh, decided to restructure whatever was there by imposing a huge rectangular great tower, 18.3 x 11.9 metres (60 x 39 ft), with five stories, on the earlier building, but incorporating the small square turret at its north-west comer, making the whole an L-plan tower. The new rectangle has walls 3.6 metres (12 ft) or so thick at the lower levels, reducing a little on the way up towards the top. The second floor of the rectangle is vaulted, and the tower has its own staircase in the north wall. Meanwhile, the turret was refurbished by having its ground floor filled up with rubble, masonry, earth, etc., and its higher floors remained much the same but with a small spiral staircase up the north-east corner.
The most arresting feature of the newer tower, however, is the massive parapet with its machicolation all round the top of the fifth story. This. projects outwards over the top of the walling by a distance of more than 0.6 metres (2 ft) and is carried all round on a row of pyramidal corbels over 1.8 metres (6 ft) long. On the top of the parapet are stepped battlements. Received opinion is that the corbelling and machicolation are later than the MacCarthaigh tower, by perhaps as much as a century. In the eighteenth century the then owner added a Gothic-style extension at the south end; however, this was severely damaged by a fire in the nineteenth century and has remained derelict since. The castle is famous for the Blarney Stone, which is a stone set in the machicolation. By means of inverting oneself head downwards between two machicolations one can kiss the stone, an act that will, it is claimed, `confer eloquence'.